Monthly Archives: June 2010

Bon Jovi & Kid Rock – The O2 -23/6/2010

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Thanks to the lovely people at Best Buy we find ourselves enjoying a tasty meal in the VIP area of the O2 before the show. It’s all very civilised and grown up, very fitting for a band now a mainstay among parents rather than their rebellious offspring. Bon Jovi are certainly an institution, so let’s see how they fair in a giant dome crammed with their rabid fanbase. (Hint- they do well)

But to get to Bon Jovi, we must first endure Kid Rock. His blending of terrible rap and even worse country-metal music was at least slightly relevant back in the bad old days of nu-metal. He’s not even that any more. He’s a dinosaur. He has become bloated (musically – he still looks like a trailer park meth addict) and needs to be hit by some kind of metiorite. Or a truck. I’m not bothered.

Swaggering around the stage in a series of stupid hats, backed up by a band of clearly talented, but slightly bored looking musicians, he plows his now almost exclusively country furrow to a venue that is not interested. People are here for Bon Jovi. Kid Rock is like an excitable muzak tannoy, allowing people to take their seats without silence.  At one point he goes around the stage playing all the instruments. This would be impressive if he was good at them, but he plays  to about the same level as a talented teenager in a school-age rock band.

With the audience not exactly warmed by this act, we await Bon Jovi. Best Buy’s corporate box is in a great location, overlooking the stage, but this view is traded off by the most overpriced beer I have ever seen in a venue. £4.80 for a bottle of Becks. VIP – Very Immoderate Prices (Yes, I used thesaurus.com for that)

Bon Jovi hit the stage to rapturous applause – they are note perfect and have an impressive array of age appropreate stage moves – these guys are still in great shape, but no one is diving off a speaker stack or flying over the audience on a harness.  It does seem to be the Jon and Ritchie show though, they get the front of stage, the rest of the band are relegated to the backline with the amps. But still, those two know how to work a stage – and strangely the O2’s stage-space is actually quite small.

Around half way through they bring out special guest Bob Geldof. Thankfully for everyone in the venue he comes on, does ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ and buggers off. No sanctimonious speeches. Well done. This is a Geldoff I could get to like.

We get a bit of acoustic treatment, and even the inclusion of an accordian is welcomed. Ritchie Sambora sings his song, and we get some of Jon solo. The full gamut is covered.

But. We know that most of the people are here for the big ones. Bad Medicine, You Give Love A Bad Name, Livin’ On A Prayer.  How do they hold up?

Let’s be honest. You love those songs. You’d be lying if you said you didn’t. They are pop rock perfection. And even if you would deny their majesty, after a few pints you would be singing along. I’d put money on it.

They hold up very VERY well. Bon Jovi are not to be fucked with when delivering songs that have made them multi millionaires.  They kick them out with precision and passion and a set of teeth so white they burn your eyes.

I’m a bit jaded and hard to impress when it comes to music these days. I’m a bit of a dick like that.

I was singing along by the end.

Every. Word.

And dancing.

Yeah, they were good.

Record Industry Guy: Death To Pirates!

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OK, so he didn’t quite say it. But it was pretty close. This is Fran Nevrkla of the PPL (a record industry group) talking at their AGM.

Thank you, David, and thank you for putting some of those pirates behind bars. I know that regrettably capital punishment was abolished in this country some 50 years ago, sad it is, but a few years in jail is probably pretty OK…

I’m off to torrent something I don’t really want just to piss this guy off.

RIP Stuart Cable

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News is trickling in that a body found by police may be that of former Stereophonics man Stuart Cable.

Cable, 40, left the multi-platinum beige-rockers in 2003 and has been happily hosting BBC Radio Wales’ rock show ever since, he had often said that he had ‘no regrets’ about leaving the band. Emergency services reached Mr.Cable’s house near Aberdare at around 5 am on Monday morning -police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

Cable’s new band Killing for Company were scheduled to play Donington Park’s Download festiva this Saturday and have a new album scheduled for release this summer.

More on this story as we get it.

UPDATE: Cable has indeed passed away, cause of death is believed to have been excessive alcohol consumption which lead to heart failure. DT would like to offer our condolences to his family and friends.

Crystal Castles – 21st Century Rock-Stars?

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Crystal Castles —STUDIO FOOTAGE +++ NEW VIDEO PREVIEW

Crystal Castles | MySpace Music Videos

With the return of Crystal Castles and their second self-titled album Ethan Kath and Alice Glass are heralding the dawn of a new type of musician by a return to the arrogance of the classic rock-stars.

Now I know by labelling them rock-stars people will probably want to throw bricks or synthesisers at me, but really what else are they? They play electro, oh right sorry. Wait, but doesn’t Glass scream a lot? So screamo it is then. Actually aren’t some of the songs fairly poppy in temperament? You see now we’re stuck. Call them noise, call them pop, call them what you like – Kath will have your head for it.

Both Ethan Kath and Alice Glass look like unsuspecting rock-stars with angular self-cut black hair and leather jackets. They look a little like the scene kids everyone tries to avoid to be honest. Just from a photo you can tell they are the awkward type and this has been confirmed by practically every interview they have ever given. Clearly they are going down the “we don’t give a shit about the fame and money” route. Classic. Apparently Ethan is lovely when discussing anything but his music. They are rock-stars and you know it.

Two albums in two years isn’t bad by any means either. They can be as tragic as they like if they have the music to back it up and here are two individuals who truly are masters at what they do. Kath programmes all his own equipment, from keyboards to phones and probably some old Nintendo’s too. Glass on the other hand is the mad front-woman who is more than likely on drugs while throwing her self around the stage. Never before have game noises made you want to dance like an epileptic on pills.

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It is this pixelated noise quality that polarises people between love and hate for Crystal Castles. I can understand how and why people would dislike them; in-fact it seems like the easier option, but nobody else has or is currently doing anything similar to them, and that in itself is an achievement. They are the 21st centuries answer to rock-stars. They are awkward, angry, different, and excessive. No longer are the cocaine addled sex lives of Motley Crue interesting to us, but the pill fuelled nightmares of hooded creeps.

These two excruciating individuals have the mentality of a gang and when you hear the music you do imagine them exactly as they are. If others jump on the electric bandwagon I fear the music will be passionless. Crystal Castles are the only viable future for this scene and they will probably relish that.

ATP Curated by Pavement – Reviewed

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When you first arrive on site, you are not greeted with the overwhelming whiff of jazz cigarettes and sweat, but an adventure playground and a stupid-looking goose standing right in your way. It’s not a normal festival by any means.

Some things, to be fair, will always be the same; even given a chalet, the kids will still find a grassy spot to sit on, sun or no sun; there will always be a goth contingent, although in this case, they are all Robert Smith hair and skinny black suits. But there is also a festical TV channel showing weirdo animation and arthouse movies, a water park and the ability to make yourself a proper cuppa every morning. If it didn’t make me sound like an old fogey, I’d declare it The Future. Which seems ironic at Butlins.

Due to a combination of rogue sat-nav, West London traffic and – gasp – real lives, we don’t arrive until 10pm on the Friday night, just missing the headliners Broken Social Scene. But no fear! This is All Tomorrow’s Parties and things work differently here. There’s still four hours of bands and 3 more hours of indie disco fun to be had this night.

We stroll over to the second stage, housed in one of the resorts entertainment venues, to watch Quasi, who, it seems form their biog, have less been booked to play, and more tagged along with all their friends and decided to do a set. It’s rousing, catchy and clever college rock and ideal for a late Friday slot.

Following a few rounds of air hockey we return to the second stage to check out Wooden Ships, seemingly hyped by every independent record store in the country. There is much hair, some cracking riffs, helped massively by the bafflingly excellent sound system (does an ABBA tribute act really need such good sound mixing? The desk is as big as the stage), but ultimately it is just a little too proggy to be a festival hit.

Saturday starts with the best of intentions, catching second stage openers Horse Guards Parade. They have a good line in banter, but ultimately their sound is that of someone singing 90’s Britpop songs over a post-rock backing, which seems to result in something rather awkward if not entirely unpleasant.

The sun and a pub lunch distract us for the next few hours, before heading back to the vast Pavillion to see Camera Obscura play the main stage. This festival definitely has a high male-to-female ratio, and at this point a lot of them seem to be grudgingly tapping their feet. Camera Obscura have perfected their particular line of Scottish twee, being more consistent than future AATP curators Belle & Sebastian, and a bit less precious with it.

Pavement, I have always maintained, were a little bit before my time. When Slanted & Enchanted came out, I was still young enough to be taken to Butlins in a non-ironic way. But the crowd here has a good few years on me, and they are loving it. The band are enjoyably wonky, the lyrics pleasingly odd, and the members, rather thrillingly, still don’t seem to be entirely comfortable being Pavement again. There is banter, playful inter-band bickering, and an invitation to a Stonemasonry workshop Sunday lunchtime (to be held, joy of joys, in the Bob the Builder themed playground). Someone in the crowd was wearing a Rush T-shirt, and we all hoped the reference was deliberate.

Later still we watch Still Flyin’, a San Francisco band who according to the programme promise a mix of reggae and Krautrock, but all we hear is perky US indie with the faintest of ska beats. They’d almost certainly gee up a tentative midday festival crowd, but this is 1am and everyone here has just seen Pavement be awesome, so the band seem slightly out of place.

Sunday starts with a trip to the pool, a carvery and a round of pirate-themed mini-golf, before heading to the Pavillion to check out The Dodos. Any band with a line-up of guitar-xylophone-drums is one I will generally enjoy, and this certainly true here. It’s a big expansive sound which is still poppy and melodic. A great little discovery.

By this point curiosity gets the better of us, and we go and catch part of Boris’s set, in which they perform their 2003 album Feedbacker in it’s entirety (although this is – oh, how this makes me feel ill – one track). There are three cool-looking Japanese people with double-necked guitars, a lot of dry ice, a huge crowd, and about 2 notes held indefinitely. It is one of those areas of music in which I am sure something utterly brilliant is occurring, but I’ll be buggered if I could say what. We go and play air hockey instead.

Later on, a bloke in white suit wanders on stage. We identify him firstly as the guy who was off his nuts and overly keen to have a long chat with one of our party in the loos of the Irish bar the previous night, and secondly as singer-songwriter Terry Reid. He’s clearly a guy who’s been around, and has the voice and the barely coherent stories to match. The songs are folksy and simple, and provide a much-appreciated contrast to the amount of big noodly space-rock elsewhere at the festival.

The Fall surprise a lot of people by being tight, tuneful and generally very enjoyable. Mark E Smith is still largely incomprehensible, but he seems to be keen to put on a decent show.

The Raincoats are hugely likeable and draw a massive crowd to see their folk-punk set. I had been put off of them initially, mainly due to the presence of what appeared to hand-felted Raincoats bags on the merchandise stand, but the fact is they are very very good, albeit every bit as twee as the merch makes out. But then again, so am I, so it was the perfect way to round everything off.

The line-ups for ATP festivals of the past have always seemed slightly too serious and heavy-going for my tastes, and largely this was no different, as evidenced by the amount of the times the word ‘sonic’ appears in the programme, and the massive queues for the gents. Nonetheless, the novelty value of watching The Fall next to a Punch and Judy theatre doesn’t really wear off.

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